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Writing the Global: The Scottish Enlightenment as Literary Practice

Wakazawa, Yusuke (2018) Writing the Global: The Scottish Enlightenment as Literary Practice. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis presents the Scottish Enlightenment as a literary practice in which Scottish thinkers deploy diverse forms of writing---for example, philosophical treatise, essay, autobiography, letter, journal, and history---to shape their ideas and interact with readers. After the unsuccessful publication of A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), David Hume turns to write essays on moral philosophy, politics and commerce, and criticism. I argue that other representatives of the Scottish Enlightenment such as Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, and William Robertson also display a comparable attention to the choice and use of literary forms. I read the works of the Scottish Enlightenment as texts of eighteenth-century literature rather than a context for that literature. Since I argue that literary culture is an essential component of the Scottish Enlightenment, I include James Boswell and Tobias Smollett as its members. In diverse literary forms, Scottish writers refer to geographical difference, and imagine the globe as heterogenous and interconnected. These writers do not treat geography as a distinctive field of inquiry. Instead, geographical reference is a feature of diverse scholarly genres. I suggest that literary experiments in the Scottish Enlightenment can be read as responding to the circulation of information, people, and things beyond Europe. Scottish writers are interested in the diversity of human beings, and pay attention to the process through which different groups of people in distant regions encounter each other and exchange their sentiments as well as products. The geographical scope of writing in the Scottish Enlightenment encompasses the whole surface of the earth. And Scottish writers explore the emergence and consequences of global interconnection. The construction of this global vision is evident across genres and it is a constitutive element of the Scottish Enlightenment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.772971
Depositing User: Mr Yusuke Wakazawa
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2019 13:06
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 13:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23629

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